How To Keep Your Self-Esteem Intact While Bathing Suit Shopping

How to Keep Your Self-Esteem Intact While Bathing Suit ShoppingIf there’s one activity that threatens to crumble a woman’s hard-fought self confidence and positive body image, it’s bathing suit shopping.

It seems that no matter how much we strive to accept ourselves just as we are, there’s always another layer of self-consciousness to peel away or another rock of insecurity to overturn. And shopping for swimwear has an uncanny ability to bring all of that to the surface.

The good news is that those bikinis and tankinis don’t have to ruin our day. There are steps we can take to emerge from the dressing room with our heads held high, regardless of what we saw while we were in there.

Six Tips for Confident Bathing Suit Shopping Tweet this!

1. Do your research ahead of time.

One thing I do not do is shop for bathing suits on a whim. No, I plan for the experience by scoping out which stores carry the types of suits I prefer.

As a card-holding member of the “I Have No Trouble Filling Out a Sweater” club, I’m on the lookout for super supportive tops with underwires. Which are not always easy to find, believe me! So instead of heading to the stores with my fingers crossed, I figure out ahead of time where my best bets are.

2. Plan a relaxing activity for afterwards.

That way if your shopping trip isn’t successful, you’re not immediately thrown back into a chaotic world of screaming children and dirty laundry. I think it’s totally fair to take an extra thirty minutes to sip a cup of tea at a favorite coffee shop afterwards.

3. Don’t go it alone.

Some people prefer to shop for swimwear in solitude, but I think it’s helpful to have a buddy along. Someone who knows you well enough to say, “You really do look great in that one!” or “Let’s get out here!” if necessary.

4. Wear something you love.

Bathing suit shopping can involve a lot of ups and downs, a lot of undressing and re-dressing. In between all of that you want to be wearing something comfortable, something that makes you feel great.

There’s nothing worse than stepping out of a bathing suit you hate only to put back on an outfit you also hate. That’s just depressing.

5. Take advantage of the internet.

The reality of today’s world is that there’s no longer any need to shop for bathing suits amidst harsh dressing room lighting. Instead, we can do it in our living room.

Obviously this means you can’t wait until the day before your beach trip, unless you want to pay an extra million dollars in overnight shipping.

I also recommend ordering more than one size, with the intention of sending back the one that doesn’t fit. The inconvenience of this step is easily overshadowed by the significant decrease in stress, if you ask me.

6. Maintain perspective.

At the end of the day, your goal probably isn’t to be mistaken for a model, right? No one else cares that you don’t look like one! If you find a suit that allows you to comfortably read a book poolside or—more likely—swiftly chase after your children, call it a win.

Because in the end, the bathing suit color will inevitably fade from too much chlorine and the fabric on the tush will stretch and sag. The bikinis and tankinis will be quickly forgotten. But the woman who didn’t let her swimwear diminish her confidence? She will be remembered.

How do you handle bathing suit shopping? What’s your swimwear shopping strategy?

image via Kim on flickr

19 responses to “How To Keep Your Self-Esteem Intact While Bathing Suit Shopping”

  1. It had never occurred to me to bring a friend along, but that actually a really good suggestion. I tend to get so down on myself while swimsuit shopping that I completely lose perspective.

    This year I’ll be rocking the ruched one-piece from Old Navy that I got the summer after I had my first baby. It’s relatively camoflauging and nursing-friendly, which is practically impossible to find so I can’t ask much more than that.

    • The only summer I was nursing, my son was almost weaned, so I never had to worry about a nursing-friendly swimsuit. I can imagine they’re tough to find!

  2. For me it’s about acceptance of my body before I shop and having a good sense of humor.

    It’s also about growth (personal) and form-function of the suit.

    Currently I’m enjoying my Sporti competition bikini. It’s amazing on a pregnant body. I’m keeping it post Baby 2. In fact, if it (and I) holds up, I might wear it when I’m 90. (A more supportive version might be nice though.)

    Note, when we go to the mass beaches, I might wear a maternity suit. Maybe not. The comfort of the bikini is incredible and it sets a positive example for our daughter.

    (Mom is healthy, Mom is active, Mom loves the body that has birthed 1 living child and hopefully another.)

  3. These are some great tips. I haven’t embarked on my journey to find the swim suit for this year, but I will need to…soon. I’ve already done some looking online. Having coffee afterwards is something I’d never considered, but I agree! You need some time to relax afterwards.

  4. I’m a fan of the swim skirt ala Lands End. But not the mini swim skirt (too mini!) Once I found that style a few years ago, I felt better about swim suit shopping season. And it definitely helps that I now know my size and can order more from the comfort of home without having to physically go to the store.

    Also, I had a nasty basal cell skin cancer burned off my calf last year which puts me in the frame of mind of enjoying what I got, scars and all!

    • Once you find the perfect style, stick with it! And you’re right, there’s nothing like a scare like that to put it all in perspective.

  5. Great advice, Katie! I found one unexpectedly at Marshall’s, and snapped it up while I could. I’m no Kate Upton, but I won’t make it on the cover of Swimsuit Horrors either.

  6. I actually haven’t gone swimsuit shopping since I was a kid. Occasionally I’ll buy one off the internet! I used to love Victoria’s Secret bikinis but now that I’m always with my kids and other kids during swim season, I think I’ll buy one of the cute but modest suits on Modcloth. It will cost a pretty penny but I’ll feel great!

  7. I hadn’t thought about coming prepared with something nice to wear afterwards, but that’s a really good tip!

    Honestly though I’ve been doing my bathing suit shopping online. And I come prepared, meaning, I know the exact cut and style that will flatter me. For me, that means a halter top, single-piece with “boy shorts” bottom, kind of like the 50s retro style. I literally googled those search terms and came up on a website that sold a ton of those. Score! 🙂

  8. When I saw the title, I thought to myself “don’t go!” Shopping, not to your post! Haha I rarely wear a bathing suit. I just don’t look good in them, and I don’t get in the pool that much anyhow. I have a couple tankinis that are still fine for when I do. I doubt I will go shopping this year either.

  9. One word: SHORTS. I have worn ‘swim shorts’ for about four years now- and they can make ANY woman feel more comfortable in her GAWGEOUS figure!

    I bought my first ‘granny suit’ four years ago too. It holds me in just fine. And the long torso that covers my bulging hips is hidden under my cute swim shorts!

    Love your advice my friend! Perfect timing for it too!

  10. You are addressing my least favorite item to shop for. I recently went and found something nice at Lands End. In previous years I may or may not have had a glass of wine before bathing suit shopping… Add that to your list – it helps! Beer-goggles on yourself!

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